Jun 24, 2020 - Science

NASA names headquarters after first Black female engineer Mary W. Jackson

Mary W. Jackson.
Mathmatician Mary Jackson, the first Black woman engineer at NASA poses for a photo at work at NASA Langley Research Center in 1977 in Hampton, Va. Photo: Bob Nye/NASA/Donaldson Collection/Getty Images

NASA will rename its headquarters in Washington, D.C., after Mary Jackson, the agency's first Black female engineer, administrator Jim Bridenstine announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: Jackson was among the significant figures in NASA's history, serving in the computing unit during the space race while it was still segregated. Jackson — along with three other Black women, Katherine Johnson, Christine Darden and Dorothy Vaughan — was depicted in the 2016 film "Hidden Figures."

  • NASA renamed the street in front of its headquarters building "'Hidden Figures Way" in 2019 to commemorate the trio's achievements.

What he's saying:

“Mary W. Jackson was part of a group of very important women who helped NASA succeed in getting American astronauts into space. Mary never accepted the status quo, she helped break barriers and open opportunities for African Americans and women in the field of engineering and technology.”
“Today, we proudly announce the Mary W. Jackson NASA Headquarters building. It appropriately sits on ‘Hidden Figures Way,’ a reminder that Mary is one of many incredible and talented professionals in NASA’s history who contributed to this agency’s success. Hidden no more, we will continue to recognize the contributions of women, African Americans, and people of all backgrounds who have helped construct NASA’s successful history to explore.”
— Jim Bridenstine in a news release
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